Heat Lamp Wattage for Bearded Dragon: A Complete Guide

Providing the right heat lamp wattage for your bearded dragon is crucial! These scaly buddies rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature, which affects everything from digestion to their immune system. One of the most important things to consider is the wattage of the heat lamp you use. Let’s dive into the world of heat lamps and find out what your bearded dragon needs.

Why Heat Lamps Are Essential

In their natural habitat, bearded dragons bask under the bright light of the sun to warm up. Mimicking this natural environment in captivity is crucial for their health and well-being. Without it, they can become very sick and even die.

The Basking Area

The basking area in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is where they go to raise their body temperature. This spot should be equipped with a heat lamp to provide the necessary warmth. It’s not just about warmth; this area should also have a UVB bulb to provide the necessary UVB rays.

Types of Heat Lamps

When it comes to heat lamps, there are a few options to consider:

Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHEs)

These emit infrared heat without light, making them ideal for nighttime heating or creating a 24-hour heat source. They are a great choice for maintaining a steady temperature without disturbing your dragon’s day-night cycle.

Incandescent Bulbs

These are your standard light bulbs that emit both visible light and heat. They are commonly used as basking bulbs because they provide both the necessary heat and visible light.

Mercury Vapor Bulbs

These bulbs emit both UVB and UVA light, making them a great all-in-one choice for providing heat, visible light, and UVB rays. However, they can be more expensive.

Fluorescent Bulbs

These are used specifically for UVB lighting. They don’t emit much heat, so they are not suitable as a primary heat source but are crucial for providing UVB rays.

The Right Heat Lamp Wattage for Bearded Dragon

The wattage of the heat lamp you choose depends on the size of your bearded dragon’s enclosure and the temperature range they need. A general rule of thumb is:

  • For smaller enclosures (20-40 gallon tanks), a 50-75 watt bulb might be sufficient.
  • For larger enclosures (50 gallons and up), you may need a 100-watt bulb or higher.

Temperature Gradient

Creating a temperature gradient in your dragon’s enclosure is essential. This means having a basking spot where the temperature ranges from 95 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (35-43 degrees Celsius) and a cooler area around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius). This allows your dragon to thermoregulate, moving between warmer and cooler areas as needed.

UVB Lighting

UVB lighting is crucial for bearded dragons as it helps them metabolize calcium and prevent metabolic bone disease. Zoo Med Reptisun UVB tubes are a popular choice among bearded dragon owners. Make sure the UVB bulb you choose covers at least two-thirds of the length of your dragon’s enclosure.

Nighttime Heating

For nighttime heating, a ceramic heat emitter is the best choice. It provides the necessary warmth without emitting light, allowing your dragon to sleep undisturbed.

Using a Dimmer Switch

If you find that the heat lamp you’ve chosen is providing too much heat, consider using a dimmer switch. This allows you to adjust the intensity of the light and heat, ensuring your dragon’s comfort.

Monitoring Temperatures

Invest in a good digital thermometer and a temp gun to monitor the temperatures in your dragon’s enclosure regularly. This ensures that they are always in a healthy environment with the proper temperature gradients.

Power Outages and Backup

In case of power outages, it’s a good idea to have a backup heat source, such as hand warmers wrapped in cloth, to keep your dragon warm until power is restored.


Providing the right heat lamp wattage for bearded dragon is one of the most important factors in creating a comfortable environment for your bearded dragon. Consider their size, the size of their enclosure, and the temperature range they need. Remember, it’s not just about warmth; UVB lighting is equally crucial for their health. By choosing the right heat lamp and monitoring temperatures regularly, you can ensure your scaly friend stays in good health and enjoys a setup close to their natural habitat.

Next time you’re at the hardware store searching for the best basking lights, keep these tips in mind to make the best choice for your bearded dragon’s enclosure.

Other Posts You Might Find Helpful:

Ceramic Heat Emitter for Bearded Dragon: Pros and Cons

Bearded Dragon Setup Cost: Must Haves to Get Started

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Heat

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